Charles Dickens wrote, “If was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Those words pretty well sum up 2012 depending on your point of view. For some of us it was a good year. It could have been a good year financially, politically, spiritually, or emotionally. You might have gotten married this year, might have added a new member to your family. In contrast you might have lost someone as well. Every year has it’s own particular set of circumstances that affect us all in very different ways.

Looking Ahead

It’s said that you can’t see where you are going if you are constantly looking in the rear view mirror. For most of us, looking into the future is a scary business. We know what we’d like to have happen, in both our near, and long term future. With that in mind, I have a question for you. “Can you predict and/or control your future?”

How Much Control Do We Have?

The freedoms we enjoy as US citizens provide each of us with a great deal of control over our daily lives. We control when, how and where we spend our money. We control our forms of entertainment in our free time. We can pick and chose our sources of information. We have control over how our local, state and federal government operate with our votes.

How Much Control Do We Need?

We all become frustrated at things we can’t control. Life has a way of throwing all kinds of speed bumps before us — usually at the more inopportune times. We need money when we don’t have any. Health issues crop up at a time when taking off work is not an option. Kids, the furnace goes out, the car breaks down all contribute to elevated levels of frustration. It seems like is out to get us.

Plan to Have More Control in Your Life in 2013

Why not plan to take charge in 2013? Be proactive rather than reactive. When gas prices rise we consolidate trips to drive less. When food prices increase we modify our diets. But we do these things after the fact. With smart planning there should be no need to ever change your lifestyle. How much would gas or food prices affect you if you had a $1,000 emergency fund? To save $1,000 a year would amount to $2.75 per day — about the price of a gourmet coffee. Most people spend more time planning the family vacation than finances for the coming year.

Some Final Thoughts

Life is preparing the 2013 lemons for you. Is this the year you make lemonade? What are you going to do in the first 30 days of January to make your life better? Start a savings plan, improve your home, become more health conscious, or learn a new skill or trade.

It is possible to straighten out the curves life throws as us. There is nothing wrong with looking in the rear view mirror for a point of reference for improvement in the coming year. What you don’t want to do is resign yourself to the fact you are stuck in your current lifestyle. Use last year to build on this year. We can all improve and make our lives better with very minor changes. Saving that $1,000, while a sacrifice, is a temporary one. Make a plan. Where do you want to be at the end of April? Start small and you’ll see big results in 2013.

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